Moving Science

Southern Research Institute, Georgia Power and EPRI Dedicate New Water Research Center

November 17, 2013

Center will explore ways to reduce, conserve and improve power plant water use

Atlanta– Southern Research Institute, Georgia Power and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) today dedicated the new Water Research Center (WRC) at Plant Bowen near Cartersville, Ga. The state-of-the-art center will focus on finding new ways to reduce, conserve and improve the quality of water returned to the environment from power plants. The WRC is the first U.S. research facility of its kind, and is made possible through a partnership with EPRI, the Southern Research Institute and 14 other companies aligned with the power generation industry.

During the dedication, research center partners met with industry leaders, local citizens and media to discuss how the center will be used to test technologies and find more ways to protect water resources. The WRC will provide a site for testing technologies to address water withdrawal and consumption, as well as explore ways to recycle or improve the quality of any water returned to the environment. The research facility is expected to yield industry-wide insights that will help power companies minimize the use of water and increase conservation of this valuable natural resource.

“We’re proud to host the new Water Research Center at one of our largest generation facilities. Efficient water management is the responsibility of every energy company and, through the work of this center, we will lead the industry in developing new ways to use and conserve this critical resource,” said Paul Bowers, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “In all areas of our business, we’re committed to conducting cutting-edge research that helps us provide clean, reliable and affordable power to customers both now and in the future.”

“The results of the Water Research Center’s test projects are being shared among Georgia Power, EPRI members and the broader electric generation industry,” said Arshad Mansoor, senior vice president of the Research and Development Group for EPRI. “This helps electricity generators all over the world to understand the performance of new technology research and, where appropriate, implement cost-effective strategies to improve water use efficiency and reduce liquid pollutant discharges.”

“We are excited to be collaborating with our partners in the Water Research Center,” added Arthur J. Tipton, Ph.D., Southern Research president and CEO. “The goals of minimizing industry water use and positively impacting conservation not only benefit the power generation industry, but also the environment, and future generations to come. This is a win in every way.”

From steam-driven turbines to hydroelectric power, water is an essential component in the generation of electricity. Georgia Power said it is constantly working to find new ways to protect water resources and use them more efficiently. The company withdraws approximately 1.3 billion gallons of water every day from Georgia’s public water ways to generate electricity for 2.4 million customers and, with a focus on conservation and recycling efforts, returns as much as 90 percent directly to the original source.

During the dedication, research center partners highlighted a number of the center’s benefits including the seven distinct research areas of study:

  • Moisture Recovery: Researching innovative technologies and methods to recover moisture that would otherwise be consumed or lost through emissions “scrubbing,” cooling tower plumes and flue gas.
  • Cooling Tower and Advanced Cooling Systems: Examining new ideas for reducing cooling water use such as increasing cooling tower cycles of concentration, diverting/reducing cooling tower heat loads, assessing the feasibility and applicability of hybrid wet/dry cooling systems and more.
  • FGD/Process Wastewater Treatment: Focusing on technologies to treat and reuse water from various waste sources throughout the plant – including flue gas desulfurization (FGD) discharges, cooling tower blowdown, floor drains and storm water runoff.
  • Zero-Liquid Discharge: Exploring technologies that separate pollutant-bearing waters into a solid material that can be used or landfilled and a high-quality distillate that can be reused.
  • Solid Landfill Water Management: Exploring water issues related to managing on-site landfills with the addition of new solids such as zero-liquid discharge salts and sludges.
  • Carbon Technology Water Issues: Developing models to determine the impacts of various post-combustion, carbon-capture technologies on the use of water at the plant site to reduce the impact of carbon dioxide capture on plant water use.
  • Water Modeling, Monitoring & Best Management Practices: Using results from each of the focus areas to model strategies for managing water use/reuse and to explore tools for evaluating overall water use (baseline and real time).

The center is an extension of a pilot project that began in May 2010 at Plant Bowen to identify opportunities to address water withdrawal, consumption and recycling. In the future, the center may also serve as an educational hub for members of the surrounding communities about the importance of water conservation, including schoolchildren, elected officials and community leaders.

To access media images of the new Water Research Center, visit

About Georgia Power

Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity. Value, Reliability, Customer Service and Stewardship are the cornerstones of the company’s promise to 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia’s 159 counties. Committed to delivering clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy at rates below the national average, Georgia Power maintains a diverse, innovative generation mix that includes nuclear, 21st century coal and natural gas, as well as renewables such as solar, hydroelectric and wind. Consistently recognized as a leader in customer service, Georgia Power was recently ranked highest in overall business customer satisfaction among large utilities in the South by J.D. Power and Associates. For more information, visit and connect with the company on Facebook ( and Twitter (

About EPRI

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are located in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.

About Southern Research Institute

Southern Research Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization founded in 1941 that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research. Approximately 500 scientific and engineering team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental and energy industries. Southern Research is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., with additional laboratories and offices in Wilsonville and Huntsville, Ala., Frederick, Md., Durham, NC, and Cartersville, Ga.

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